Dear Sir,

THE recent front page article on the unfairness of expat Britons being ineligible for the U.K. ‘cold weather'allowance, shows a mean attitude by the Blair government beyond that of even Ebeneezer Scrooge! People who have dutifully paid their taxes and dues all their life should be entitled to whatever benefits are available, whether they live at home or abroad.

It probably gives rise to some arguments that being able to sunbathe in January amongst the almond blossom is not the same as suffering an English winter, but that is not really the point, and in fact the British government should be very grateful that with the tens of thousands (or is it hundreds?) of British who live in retirement in Spain, the medical services in the U.K. are relieved of that work load and cost, especially when only taking into consideration that a hospital bed in the U.K. costs £1300 per person, per week. How many millions saved there? In fact, Britain could take a ‘leaf' out of Norway's ‘book'; that country's government actually helping private enterprise in Spain build retirement complexes for Norwegian citizens, as it is still cheaper than making and running such facilities in Norway.

Graham Phillips,